SWITZERLAND: illegal waste burning is largest source of dioxin says environment agency

Illegal burning of domestic waste by individuals trying to dodge waste collection fees is the largest source of dioxin pollution in Switzerland warns the national environment agency(OFEFP).

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Uncontrolled burning of one kilo of waste creates the same amount of pollution as the incineration of 10 tonnes of waste in a modern incinerator, says OFEFP.

Domestic waste incinerators have reduced their annual dioxin emissions from 365g to 16g. Although only 1-2% of domestic waste is burnt illegally, this produces some 27-30g of dioxin a year – twice as much as official incineration, says OFEFP.

Also, since bonfires release atmospheric pollutants at ground level, they are more likely to end up on the ground and in the food chain – so people who burn waste in their gardens are potentially poisoning their own crops and their neighbours’ says OFEFP.

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